Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Regarding "The Computers"...

Tony Barnhart's column today concerns the vicissitudes of the computer rankings used by the BCS. My comment:

The problem with the computer rankings is, well, they're garbage. Journalism majors are apparently impressed when told "the computer says...", but anybody with technical training knows the dictum, garbage in, garbage out. Nobody knows--because the "poll" owners won't reveal--what data goes into the software, and with one exception, nobody knows what math the software uses to generate the rankings. What little we do know tends to indicate that the math is bogus, meaning the output is just as bogus (Tony alludes to this above; Oklahoma was still ranked #1 by computer software in 2003 even after being drilled in their conference championship game).

The human polls aren't notably better, since they're compiled by entirely fallible human beings, but placing any faith in "the computers" speaks more to general technical ignorance than any objective reality.

1 comment:

K dog said...

My problem is not with the computers. I actually think the computer rankings bring sanity to the discussion.

My problem is...why are we even having the Boise St. and TCU discussion in the first place? Barhhart answers his own question...all SEC Teams listed play 5 ranked opponents, plus the SEC has the last 4 National Champions. If Boise St. and TCU want to play in the Big Boy Game, then they need a Big Boy Schedule. So does everybody else.

War Eagle '90